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Chapter 3 
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Post Chapter 3
Chapter 3

Please use this thread for discussing Chapter 3.



Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:51 am
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Okay, I am partially into this chapter. So here we have Orlando become a woman.

Woolf's statement that the changing of sex alters future but not identity follows her matter of fact statement that "Orlando was indeed a woman". But does Orlando's identity really stay stagnant? I mean, he becomes she - surely that is a change in identity - unless Woolf is saying that her identity as Orlando and a noblewoman/man is unchanged.

Secondly, it is a rather abrupt, in your face change. It's almost like Woolf didn't want to show the progression, or cut this part out and went "Right, now Orlando is a woman."

She also states that until he is 30, Orlando is male, but from that age onwards he is a woman. All this shows that this is a fantastical biography.

1) It shows sex change in a time when I don't think they had the ability to physically change ones sex and Orlando if real would have been a hermaphrodite or transsexual [I'm leaning to the former].

2) It spans across a good 300 years, and Orlando doesn't age that much over that time. It's almost as though she/he is destined to live 300+ years, which suggests fantasy too. I only saw this now, but in Andersen's The Little Mermaid, the mermaids live for 300 years - perhaps this influenced Woolf?

As a woman, at first, Orlando seems to be almost Oriental or influenced by the Orient in how she is dressing -- this might be illustrated by the picture of the Russian Princess, which is plate number 2 in the OUP edition. It is almost as though, and it does read as such, that Woolf has transplanted female Orlando from England into the region of Constantinople [what it was during Woolf's life time].

What does everyone else make of Orlando's sex change?


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Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:02 pm
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Well, it wasn't a medical operation - it's a supernatural thing that happens.

It didn't seem 'realistic' to me . . . even in fantasy, there's gotta' be a certain amount you can actually 'believe' and 'identify with'.

I kinda' thought VW would describe sexual relations, but she doesn't dwell on it at all.



Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:39 pm
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No, she doesn't. And she doesn't explain how within the fantasy realms Orlando changes. Unusual, but maybe she had a method.


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Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:56 am
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The story doesn't really 'show', it 'tells' of the character's life . . . I don't get the feeling of really 'knowing' Orlando, as a man or a woman.

And I find the descriptive passages (nature, surroundings) are overdone - it's like looking at a painting or photograph with too much in it.

Ever see a garden bed that just got too many kinds of plants in it? You never really 'see' the flowers, it's just one big bash of colour.



Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:16 am
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That was Woolf's style though, for Orlando at least. I just got through Chapter Three - Orlando's ignorance at being a woman, at least until she leaves the gipsies and buys woman's clothing is unusual - or, at least, she has noticed and just not taken full notice in her mind - now in woman's clothing its obvious.

There's a section where Woolf talks about families and names and heritage, and mentions the Howards and the Plantagenets - references to British Royalty, and also mentions something about the gipsies being Thessalian or at least being near some Thessalian. When I first read it, the Thessaly comment was like oh ok so she is in Greece at the moment. Now, being near or in Thessaly, she is in what the ancients knew as the place where witches dwelled. Possibly a link to somebody like Lucan and the witch Erictho do you think? Woolf would have read the Pharsalia and other classics I imagine.


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Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:32 pm
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I dunno' . . . but why wouldn't she know (or realize) he's become a she, that quickly?

Surely he knew something was up when he went to have a widdle!

:slap:



Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:01 pm
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Possibly. Maybe the point was that dressed as a man, it wasn't obvious, but when she changed, it became literally obvious - like she knew but was sort of ignorant to the idea?


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Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:03 pm
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Dunno', Ashleigh . . . seems kinda' screwy to me . . .

:whistle:



Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:05 pm
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You're right though, she would notice, but she did seem to be more aware that she was female when she was in women's clothing and on the boat back to England - maybe Woolf is making some kind of statement that is cloaked or obscure?

I just read a bit more - where upon Orlando's return to her home, it is taken from her. I think that here, as in many other writings, Woolf is making a statement about the female condition, and is contrasting it with the male. The fact that a man can hold property and a woman can't appears important in this section.

Gah! I wrote write instead of right before!!! Oh what NaNoWriMo does to me!


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Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:32 pm
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What is NaNoWriMo?

Actually, I think the programs that run the message boards 'correct' things, and that's the reason we typing errors that we know darn well we didn't make - ha ha!



Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:54 am
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WildCityWoman wrote:
What is NaNoWriMo?

Actually, I think the programs that run the message boards 'correct' things, and that's the reason we typing errors that we know darn well we didn't make - ha ha!


national novel writing month, I've been doing it at the same time as this.

Anyway, What do you make of Woolf's statement in Orlando and other works of the female condition?


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Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:36 pm
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